O’Sullivan tells Trump: you’ve got to win a lot more to become an all-time great

O'Sullivan is gearing up for a tilt at a sixth Betfred World Championship triumph at the Crucible
O’Sullivan is gearing up for a tilt at a sixth Betfred World Championship triumph at the Crucible

Judd Trump remains a long way off being an all-time snooker great, according to five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, writes Will Jennings.

World No.1 Trump was crowned king of the Crucible for the first time in his career last year, toppling four-time winner John Higgins in the final and capitalising on O’Sullivan’s shock first round exit.

The Rocket crashed out against qualifier James Cahill in Sheffield as his wait for a first title since 2013 went on, with the world No.6 failing to progress past the quarter-finals in any of the last five renewals of the competition.

Trump has romped to a stunning six ranking event titles this season but O’Sullivan says he’s got a lot more to do if he wants to follow in his footsteps as a cueing immortal.

“I think the yardstick now has to be how many majors you win because that’s the only thing that stays constant in snooker,” the 44-year-old said.

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“A lot of it is judged by majors – golfers are judged by their majors, tennis players and judged by their majors and we are judged by our majors.

“You’ve got to look at John Higgins for the yardstick of the World Championships – and that’s the cut off point to be called a great.

“You’ve got look to maybe get four world titles and maybe 15 majors, so that takes a career to get to that point.

“It’s too early to say whether Judd is going to be a true great – at the moment, he’s on top of the pile and is winning pretty much one in three tournaments that he plays in.

“I think Judd will be the one [who can blaze a trail for the next generation of snooker players] – he’s had a very, very good season.

“It’s great to watch Judd and see him develop over the years.”

Trump is one of the few players on the snooker circuit to boast a non-losing overall record to O’Sullivan, with the score at 13-13 after the 26 times they’ve met since his emergence in 2008.

The world No.1 toppled O’Sullivan in the final of the 2019 Masters – one of snooker’s Triple Crown events – and also came up Trumps against the Rocket in their last encounter in the final of Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.

The world No.6 knows all about the dangers he poses and says Trump is the man to beat when the snooker elite descend on Sheffield at the end of this month.

“He has a very high striking average really, so yes, he’s definitely the man to beat,” he added.

“Sometimes that brings its own pressures, because every time you go into a match everyone wants to beat you, because you’re world champion and world No.1.

“It’s about how well do you carry that mental [pressure], so it will be interesting to see how he develops and with carrying that, still being able to go out there and play your game like it means nothing.

“Because sometimes the pressure can build up and it can stop you from playing your natural game.”

Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship from 31st July – 16th August with analysis from Jimmy White.

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